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Police Probes Engineer in Train Accident; American Kids Not Making the Grade?; Behind the Wheel of Walker Death Car; Cold Case Cracked Open: Professor Charged In Revenge Killing Of Her Alleged Rapist; Rescue Divers Were Surprised To Find Harrison Okene Alive In Freezing Water

Aired December 3, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That deep in the water, his story being shown for the first time tonight. It's extraordinary.

We begin, though, with the breaking news. The New York train wreck that took the lives of four people and sent dozens more to the hospital. It comes after investigators answered no to a string of other possibilities. No alcohol involved, they said. No sign of break trouble or malfunctioning signals or any mechanical problems that day.

Ruling all that out only tightened the focus on train engineer William Rockefeller and something he said shortly after his train flew off the tracks going 82 miles an hour on a curve made for 30. That's something about being in a daze may have been investigators' first inkling of why this happened and there is more along those lines tonight.

It is our breaking news. Details now from Nic Robertson who just spoke to Mr. Rockefeller's lawyer -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the lawyer tells us that the night before the accident that Mr. Rockefeller had good sleep, that he went to bed at 8:30 in the evening, woke up at 3:30 in the morning, reported to work just after 5:00 in the morning.

And what he does say is that Mr. Rockefeller acknowledges that he had a temporary loss of concentration just at that vital moment. That is why he has -- he's been heard to have said that he was in a daze.

The NTSB, of course, giving us more details about the investigation today.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Human error, William "Billy" Rockefeller's daze increasingly the probable cause. His union representative saying he was nodding off and caught himself too late.

ANTHONY BOTTALICO, ASSOCIATION OF COMMUTER RAIL EMPLOYEES: He's extremely distraught over it, and he feels for the families. I don't believe that in my opinion that anybody could ever -- could ever, ever make Billy feel worse than he made -- he's making himself feel today, so, Billy feels terrible. Whether it was his fault or not his fault it's his train.

ROBERTSON: Having eliminated a number of possible causes including signal failure, the focus of the investigation increasingly falling upon William Rockefeller, Jr., the train's engineer.

EARL WEENER, NTSB MEMBER: The operations group continued interviewing the members of the crew today including the engineer whose interview is currently underway.

ROBERTSON: In the minutes after the derailment, according to a senior law enforcement source, Rockefeller told first responders, "Going along, and I'm in a daze, I don't know what happened."

The NTSB say the 10-year veteran driver's hours were routine.

(On camera): You said that he was on the second day of a five-day shift that he had started at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. What time did he start prior to starting the 5:00 a.m. in the morning?

WEENER: I don't know the specific time he finished the shift but the day was a typical nine-hour day and these days were routine days.

ROBERTSON: So there would -- he would have sufficient time to get a full night sleep.

WEENER: There is every indication that he would have had time to get full restorative sleep. That's correct.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Rockefeller's union rep says the engineer is cooperating fully.

BOTTALICO: Rockefeller's a strong man and I think it takes a strong man to come down and -- and come down and be honest. And I mean, that's what Billy is doing.

ROBERTSON: On the question of the brakes, Rockefeller had claimed they didn't work at the time of the crash.

WEENER: We've determined that the Metro-North Mechanical Department performed a proper brake test prior to the accident train leaving the station, and there were no anomalies noted. Based on this data, there is no indication that the brake systems were not functioning properly.

ROBERTSON: The facts, 82 miles per hour on a 30-per-mile-hour curve, the apparent late braking five seconds before the train fully came to rest disturbing.

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: The numbers are startling. I mean, it's shocking and inexcusable. The question is why they were so high.

ROBERTSON: What is known, Rockefeller passed a breathalyzer and had not been using a cell phone in the minutes before the crash. His employer, the MTA, saying he's innocent until his disciplinary hearings has concluded. For now he is out of service, not being paid.


COOPER: So, Nic, I don't understand, just to clarify, the union rep is saying that he had acknowledged being -- that he had nodded off. Is his lawyer backing that up?

ROBERTSON: Yes, his lawyer really is backing that up. In fact his lawyer was sort of struggling for the right words to describe precisely what happened. This is the first time we've heard from the lawyer really putting -- trying to be definitive on this issue. That he described it as a sort of highway hypnosis, as zoning out, and this is really what the union rep was trying to describe as well.

The union rep said to me, look, we've all been in that position. We've been driving for that momentary lapse of concentration. We've been into the central reservation, the crash barrier in the middle of the road or gone towards the side. He said we've all experienced that sort of thing. That's what they're to get at here. That sort of temporary moment where the concentration is lost.

Highway hypnosis is a terminology, I think we may hear more about with this -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Nic Robertson, appreciate the update, thanks.

Joining us now is Michael Breus, sleep expert and author of the "Sleep Doctors' Diet Plan."

Do you buy that idea? I mean it seems to me there's a difference between highway hypnosis and nodding out. Do you buy either of those?

MICHAEL BREUS, SLEEP EXPERT: Well, here's one of the things that I'm a little bit concerned with, Anderson. They said that he went to bed at 8:30 the night before and he went -- and he woke up at 3:30.

Here's one of the things that I haven't heard anybody talk about which is this particular engineer's circadian rhythm. I'm not sure this engineer is at fault at all. I think that if his biological clock doesn't want him going to bed at a certain time and waking up at a certain time, and he's forced to do so because he has to drive the train the next day, and by the way, he was placed on this schedule only a day and a half before he had to then commit to this schedule, it could definitely have some types of effects on him.

Was he zoning out? Was it road hypnosis? I really think that he probably fell asleep. I mean, all indications are to the fact that there is a great likelihood that he probably could have fallen asleep while doing this. If his biological clock wanted him to stay up later and he was trying to force himself to sleep, how good of a sleep could he have really gotten?

COOPER: And applying the brakes just a short time before coming to a full stop, that would also seem to be more than just a nodding out.

BREUS: If you're nodding out, it's happening for a second or two. I mean, my understanding is in this particular track, this is a pretty big hairpin turn. This is one of those things that you know about. I mean, this conductor is somebody who knows that this turn is coming up. It's a pretty sharp turn that's coming up.

If I'm driving, right, and I know that there's a pretty sharp turn coming up, I'm going to perk up. I know it's coming up, I'm ready. I'm really focusing hard. I'm not kind of dozing off and nodding off and things like that. I'm becoming more aware, not less aware. But if I'm asleep, I can't become more aware.

COOPER: Also, when I would image on a train track it is probably easier to get that highway hypnosis or nodding out or even falling asleep because it's not even like you're driving a car, you're on a track.

BREUS: Exactly. Well, not only are you on a track, which doesn't -- and don't get me wrong, this is not an easy process.

COOPER: Right, of course.

BREUS: Engineering a train. OK. This is -- this is not -- this is not something that anybody can go out there and do. These people are highly trained. They use this machinery in a way that not a common individual can do.

But you're right, you're on a track. But there's also there's another factor that I don't think a lot of people are taking into account here, which is there's a constant noise, there's a constant motion. There's a lot of things.

Think about when you get on an airplane, Anderson. What happens? You have -- hear a constant noise, you have a constant motion. How many people are asleep on the airplane when you're flying around? A whole bunch of them. Right? So we've got a very interesting mixture of events here.

We've got a gentleman who was basically forced to go to bed at 8:30 at night, wake up at 8:00 -- at 3:30 in the morning. We don't really know what his overall sleep schedule was, especially two nights before. What if he was going to bed at 10:30 and then waking up at 6:30 like a normal person does. And now we've asked him to advance his sleep phase, then we put him into a situation where his environment is such that it's very sleep inducing.

Right? I'm in a closed environment. I've got a closed temperature. I've got certain sounds, I've got certain things going on, and by the way that the thing that I'm steering is on a track and it's moving at a pretty fair cliff.

COOPER: What do -- what do you advice for somebody out there who has to work these kind of hours or that may not be their natural rhythm? What advice do you have?

BREUS: So one of the first things that we do with anybody who has a tendency to work a shift is we let them know that they need to stay on that shift, if possible when they're not on those hours. So if he has to go to bed at 8:30 and wake up at 3:30 for this to be his shift, then those are the hours that he should be keeping when -- even when he's off that shift to keep that biological rhythm in the same stance.

The other thing is light therapy. Believe it or not. Just being able to have a certain amount of light there are commercially available, light boxes that you can have. There are even light bulbs that are now available out there that you can have that can actually give you the same sunlight that you normally would have when it's dark outside or during the winter months when we know that there is a lot of cloud cover and people aren't getting the sunlight.

COOPER: That's interesting.

BREUS: There are a lot of different things that people can do to actually brighten themselves to reset that circadian clock on a fairly regular basis.

COOPER: Interesting. Michael Breus, appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much.

The kind of weather whiplash you expect in early December but cranked up to 11. Temperatures going from the 60s in Denver to the teens or the 80s in Dallas to below freezing. This one could get very ugly, which is why we need to check on Chad Myers in the Weather Center.

Chad, what's going on?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, I saw the temperature in Denver today get to 57 at the airport.


MYERS: The morning low coming up tomorrow morning will be zero. After that, the next morning low will be 6 below zero. We're swinging this 60 or 70 degrees in some spots here and a lot of snow with that. When you have the moisture, you have the warm and the cold things always break, and that's what we're getting now.

There is a -- there's been traffic right now from, one of my favorite Web sites in Denver. That's not moving very fast. Snow is now coming down for a while today. I-70 west of Denver, was in fact shut down. Just so many crashes out there. The Interstate was done for awhile. They've cleared that out. but near the Eisenhower Tunnel things are getting better but I just watched some pictures there on -- on Colorado DOT and it's completely still snow covered.

So this is not a piece of cake. All commercial vehicles essentially through Colorado have to have chains on the tires at this point.

A foot of snow in Duluth expected, Minneapolis, as well. Not quite a foot but close and at least two feet in the mountains to the west of Denver.

Now, you know what, this is a good thing for the people in Colorado. They love to go play in the snow. What you don't want to see is, you know, highs for tomorrow in the teens or the 30s then all of a sudden 15, because what's going to break here, Anderson, and this isn't on the map. I'm going to draw it for you.

Right through here there is going to be a system that lines up here Thursday morning and Friday and there's going to be a bunch of snow right through here, probably a foot or more, and then somewhere along this line, I don't know where yet because there is still 72 hours before this happens, a major ice storm will develop right at that 32- degree mark. It's going to try to rain, it's going to be 31 or 32, and that's not going to work out.

COOPER: Wow. All right. Chad, appreciate the update.

Let me know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper. Tweet us using hash tag "ac360."

Coming up next, a pretty grim report card when it comes to the education that your kids may be getting here in the United States. When you see how poorly American students do compared to the rest of the world in a new test, you might have some tough questions for educators.

And later new details in the "Fast and Furious" crash. And we'll take you inside the car in question. More than 600 horses -- incredibly quick reflexes and potentially deadly if pushed too far.


COOPER: Tonight a real wakeup call if you think your kids are getting the best education they can. It comes four years after President Obama warned that what's at stake is nothing less than the American dream. Fourteen years after then Governor George W. Bush famously warned about that, quote, "soft bigotry of low expectations." And 30 years after Ronald Reagan's education secretary said that education was being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity.

Results tonight of a new global exam given to 15-year-olds showing them average in science and reading and below average in math. There were little or no gains in the last decade while other countries raced ahead of the United States.

Here to talk about what it means, Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS," and Amanda Ripley, author of the "Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way."

Fareed, this latest study is one of a continuing string of studies that shows the U.S. educational system lagging behind the rest of the world. What do you make of the results? Because -- I mean, it doesn't seem like the U.S. is actually getting worse, it's just the rest of the world is getting better.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: That's exactly right, Anderson. This is very revealing. This study. What it shows is that while we're sort of walking around in one of those people movers, you know, going nowhere, the rest of the world, very many countries are on escalators. What this shows is that it's not so much that we've been doing anything dramatically badly but in the context in which everybody else is playing to win, we're falling behind badly and all of a sudden we look at the difference between us and countries like South Korea and Singapore and it's widening but increasingly the gap between us in countries like Poland is also widening.

COOPER: And, Amanda, you look at like Vietnam which just started this study and has, you know, a lot of child poverty, they've done really well. I mean, what are we doing wrong and what are they doing right?

AMANDA RIPLEY, AUTHOR, "THE SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD": It was shocking to see Vietnam for the first time ever appearing in this test at the very top of the rankings. You know, up there with Finland and Canada and, you know, Poland, Estonia, too. These are countries with significant levels of child poverty, plenty of problems.

COOPER: And they're not spending as much on education in a lot of cases as people in -- you know, the United States is.

RIPLEY: Right. No, we spend more than all but four countries in the world per people and those four countries are not for the most part on the top 10 list. So it is not just a matter of spending. It is not just a matter of goodwill. It is not just a matter of how much testing you do or how many students you have in your classroom. It really seems to get at, you know, how have these very small number of countries managed to inject a level of rigger through and through in their system, not just with their teachers but also with their parents and their students?

COOPER: Fareed, what do you -- what do you see as the United States could do better or not doing well enough?

ZAKARIA: Well, you know, at one level we're just not playing to win. There is not a real national focus that drives down to the states that we really are falling behind. Lots of people believe we're not and we're number one and we do things great. The first thing is these countries, almost all of them, their kids go to school a lot more than we do. They have much longer school days. They have much longer school years.

I did back of the envelope calculations. A kid in South Korea by the time he is 18, by the time he was -- graduated from high school has spent almost two years more in high school. And you do more, you do something for longer, I mean, whether it's music lessons, whether it's sports, whether it's academics, you're going to be better at it.

COOPER: Amanda, do you agree with it?

RIPLEY: Well, it's complicated. Right? Because on the one hand I think that's true in many countries, that they are spending more time in school. On the other hand, other countries are spending about the same time in school like in Finland. American teenagers, for example, do more hours of homework than some of the students in some of these countries. What seems to matter most is not the quantity but quality. Right? They are being asked to do a lot of work that maybe doesn't actually make them think very much for themselves, and you can see that mirrored in these results where the kinds of math problems that American kids are doing well on are pretty basic problems that require them to just, you know, deliver the result.

And the kinds of problems they're really struggling with compared to their peers around the world are the kinds that involve thinking, that involve taking a real world problem like, say, figuring out the tip at a restaurant and turning it into mathematical thinking.

So those kinds of things that we know are really valuable in the economy today. Those higher order skills are what's being neglected in the U.S.

COOPER: Right, that seems particularly scary.

ZAKARIA: Well, and, Anderson --


ZAKARIA: What's most scary about it along those lines is until about 10 years ago, one consolation was the very best American students did pretty well. They -- we ranked, the best kids in Massachusetts with up there with Singapore and South Korea. No longer true. Even our best students are no longer in the -- you know, at the very top. They're doing OK. But they're not up there with Shanghai, Singapore, and South Korea.

COOPER: So, Fareed, does some of this have to do with how education is funded in the United States?

ZAKARIA: The simple difference if you were to look at all these other countries, particularly the good ones, in those countries, they spend more on poor kids, on kids who are disadvantaged on the theory they're the ones who need the most help.

Our system, as you know, is funded by property taxes. So we do the opposite. We tend to spend lots of money on affluent -- you know, in affluent suburbs, we spend relatively less money in inner city Harlem, places like that. And that means those kids, those disadvantaged kids really never have a chance to catch up.

COOPER: So, Amanda, for you, what is the takeaway on this?

RIPLEY: Well, look, I think it's true with Fareed is saying. We could do much better on equity, we should put much more attention into raising the bar for who gets to study teaching in college and how rigorous that training is. And I think the fact that 45 states have agreed on a set of common core standards which are more rigorous and aligned to international norms, if we can keep pushing through all the controversy around this and get to a good place, that's a huge step in the right direction.

COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, Amanda Ripley, fascinating, thank you. RIPLEY: Thank you.

COOPER: If you want to find out more about this test, you can go to our any time.

Just ahead tonight, possible new clues in the investigation in the fiery crash that killed actor Paul Walker and we'll show you just how powerful the car he was riding in actually is.

Plus a cold case cracks wide open and a college professor is charged in the revenge killing of her alleged rapist nearly 20 years later. She says she's being victimized all over again.


COOPER: Well, answers could be coming soon to the crash that killed "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker. We may soon know for sure on whether Walker or his friend, Paul Rodas, was behind the wheel for the Porsche Carrera GT when it crashed into a light pole and went up in flames.

New surveillance video shows a tree falling over from the impact. The fire doesn't actually start for about a minute or so according to this video. When it does, it burns with a furry consuming the car burning the occupants beyond recognition. Both Rodas and Walker were car buffs and racing teammates.

The Carrera GT, though, not a race car, such is the closest you can get to one and still be street legal. It's got more power than some racers. It's got a real hair trigger, as Kyung Lah found out today. She joins us now.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this is sort of assignment I am talking about, if you look at this vehicle, look very closely.

This is a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. Extremely rare. This cost $450,000, only about 1300 of them exist on the road, some were made in 2004. This was in 2005. Very difficult for us to find, very difficult to track down a driver and we got a very rare opportunity to give it a spin.


LAH (voice-over): Riding in a Porsche Carrera GT is simply visceral.

(On camera): So low to the ground.


(Voice-over): I'm at once exhilarated and car sick. It's like flying on the road and it is terrifying but strangely fun.

(On camera): So we're going out for a bit of a joyride.

(Voice-over): I'm the lucky passenger in Michael Weinreb's (ph) Porsche. He's an attorney by day, amateur driver by night, one of the few owners of the nearly 1300 2005 Cabrera GTs ever made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's more than zero to 100 time, that's more impressive, which is under seven seconds. The steering on this car is so tight and responsive. And there's almost nothing like it in terms of road feel.

LAH: At top speed 208 miles per hour. Weinreb's super car has been souped up from 612 horsepower to 660.

(On camera): Is it easy to do something stupid?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it is because it's just having so much power under your foot that, you know, things can happen. There can be a loss of control.

LAH (voice-over): Weinreb doesn't know what happened in actor Paul Walker's car crash but being the owner of the exact same vehicle, he guesses it might be this. A cold car, cold tires, not racetrack conditions, a super car pushed too hard.

(On camera): In some respects are you afraid of this car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you really have to be with this car with all the power it has. You have to be reserved and restrain yourself. I mean, it's like kind of taming a wild animal and so, if you were taming a wild animal, you would be afraid of it. So you have to be afraid of it to really be safe in the car.


LAH: Now as far as what all of these owners are thinking about what might have happened, a lot of it is speculation but being one of these rare owners, they have rare insight. They believe that because he left the charity event and the crash happened such a short time later, that it may have been a super car on a cold road, cold tires, and it simply may have not been in the right conditions.

But again, the investigation still underway. Still trying to figure out exactly what caused this crash -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, appreciate the reporting, thanks.

There's a lot more happening tonight. Rosa Flores has the "360 Bulletin" -- Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, kicking off a three-week PR offensive. President Obama insisted his sweeping health care law is working and even asked supporters to help spread the word about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we may never satisfy the law's opponents. I think that's fair to say. Some are rooting for this law to fail. That's not my opinion, by the way, they say it pretty explicitly. Some have already convinced themselves that the law has failed regardless of the evidence, but I would advise them to check with the people who are here today.

And the people that they represent all across the country whose lives have been changed for the better by the Affordable Care Act.


FLORES: North Korea's leader Kim Jung-Un is believed to have sacked his powerful uncle shown here on the left from his top level government post while two of the uncle's close allies have been publicly executed. That's according to South Korean lawmakers who were briefed by South Korea's intelligence agency.

Now a shakeup comes as U.S. officials are calling on North Korea to release two captive Americans, Kenneth Bae and Merrill Newman.

French prosecutors are investigating Bob Dylan on suspicion of inciting hatred. A group representing Croatians in France press charges against the iconic singer for comments he made in an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine. Dylan is accused of likening the Croatian people to Nazis over their treatment of Serbs.

And one of Princess Diana's most memorable dresses sold at auction in South London for a whopping $140,000. The buyer is reportedly an overseas museum. Diana made several high-profile appearances in the dress by designers David and Elizabeth Emmanuel. Anderson, I wanted to debut the dress on your show, but it was out of my budget.

COOPER: Rosa, thanks very much.

Up next, a college professor arrested and accused of murdering her alleged rapist nearly two decades after it happened. Is she a victim or a cold-blooded killer? See the story and decide for yourself.

Also ahead, incredible new video of an unusual rescue at sea, a man found in an air pocket in a submerged boat about 90 feet below the surface of the water. He had been there three days when he was rescued alive.


COOPER: Welcome back. In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, a college professor is behind bars in the connection of the murder of her alleged rapist nearly 20 years ago. She was a college student in California at that time and her whole life ahead of her.

Before her arrest she taught at a Swiss university and lived in France with her husband and young daughter. So how did she end up in custody without bail back in the U.S. all these years later? It is a complicated question. The case is full of twists and turns. Here is Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not where 39- year-old Norma Patricia Esparza thought she would be, handcuffed in the Southern California courtroom facing charges for what prosecutors say was her role in a vicious murder. It's a long way from her life in academia, a Ph.D. who worked with the World Health Organization and who was a psychology professor in Geneva. But prosecutors say she played a part in the revenge killing of a man she says raped her in 1995, a murder she says she knew nothing about.

(on camera): Patricia Esparza says she was home from college when she met Gonzalo Ramirez in the Santa Ana nightclub. The next morning he invited her to breakfast and she met him bringing along a sister and another girlfriend. He then offered to drive her back to college where she says he raped her in her dorm room.

(voice-over): Esparza was 20 at the time. She says never went to police about the rape, but told a nurse at the school who she says gave her a contraceptive, but didn't advise her to go to police and she also told another person, a man that wanted back in her life, her ex-boyfriend, Giani Van.

Prosecutors believe Van conspired with three others to kill Ramirez. Three weeks after her alleged rape, Esparza says Van took her to a bar in search of Ramirez. Police believed that's when the murder plan was put into motion. Caroline Heldman is a spokesperson for Esparza and her family.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, ESPARZA FAMILY SPOKESWOMAN: She refused to identify him, but when her rapist walked by she had an involuntary flinch. She did not participate in this willingly. She was afraid for her life at the time. She was afraid for her life after the fact and has stayed quiet about that as a result of her fear.

ELAM (on camera): According to prosecutors, Ramirez was spotted in Santa Anna, rear-ended and then lured to an auto body shop here on this block a few miles away. Inside they alleged he was brutally beaten, hacked on the back of the head several times with a meat cleaver.

(voice-over): Esparza's current husband said his wife was brought to see Ramirez and he was still alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was taken to a transmission shop and asked to go up the stairs to a loft where she was made to confront the man who had raped her who was bloodied but talking.

ELAM: Ramirez's body was dumped on a street in Santa Ana. Van and two others pleaded not guilty to charges and are awaiting trial. The other suspect died in a police shootout last year. Esparza insists she said she had no part in planning the murder and didn't know until weeks later that Ramirez had been killed. She says she was warned by the suspect who was killed him that she and her family would be brutalized if she told anyone about the crime.

NORMA PATRICIA ESPARZA, DEFENDANT: All I knew is that I wanted to survive. All I knew these people were dangerous and I just needed to stay quiet and withdraw and come out of that night alive.

ELAM: In a strange twist, Esparza ended up marrying Van. She said it was a sham of a marriage to keep her from being forced to testify against him in this case. Esparza says she married him out of fear for herself and her family. After nine years, she divorced Van and married her current husband.

SUSAN SCHROEDER, ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: Mrs. Esparza came to us back in November 2012 offered us information that she knew about the case. At the time she did so, she was offered no promises. In fact, she was told that she wouldn't get off scot free.

ELAM: After turning down a plea deal, which would have given her three years in prison, Esparza is now in jail without bond charged with one felony account of special circumstance murder during the commission of a kidnapping.

ESPARZA: What they are asking me to plead guilty for is essentially something that I can accept because it would essentially be a lie.

ELAM: Heldman says Esparza should not be a defendant in the murder.

HELDMAN: After being, you know, charged with special circumstances murder, she was out on bail for 11 months with her passport. This is not someone who the DA was seriously considering a threat, I think because they know that she didn't participate in this crime. She was a victim in this crime.

SCHROEDER: Ms. Esparza is not the victim on this case. She's a co- defendant on this case and she is culpable for the murder on this case.

ELAM: The prosecution says this was never a case about rape.

SCHROEDER: The victim on this case never was afforded the same courtesy that Ms. Esparza is going to get. He will never get the benefit of a police investigation. He'll never get the benefit of a jury trial.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, Santa Ana, California.


COOPER: Let's dig deeper now with CNN legal analysts, Sunny Hostin and Danny Cevallos. Sunny, I don't quite understand. She saw a guy who had been hit in the head with a meat clever multiple times, talked to him, never reported it and then married the guy, stayed married to the guy that did that for nine years, correct?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. I think that's the problem that a lot of jurors are going to have with this. Was she a victim? Was she raped and if so, did she go back to this bar and point him out? And I think that's going to be the crucial factor. She is saying she had this involuntary flinch. That she didn't point him out.

But if indeed, she pointed him out and was part of this gang that conspired to kill him for the rape in revenge, I think a jury going to find her responsible. But I got to tell you, Anderson, I'm so conflicted about this because I prosecuted sex crimes and violence against woman and I know women can be revictimized over and over again.

She's saying I'm a victim. I was sexually molested by my dad. I was raped at this time and now I was re-victimized by this man that killed my rapist and I had nothing to do with it. That is really the profile of a victim, and it's not so out of the norm.

COOPER: Danny, in 1995, she was contacted by authorities about the murder and said she didn't know anything about it, the fact that she lied to authorities then, how damaging is that for her defense?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, if she was part of that conspiracy, which has to be proven, and there was an ongoing conspiracy to conceal it, that could be bad for her. But she needs to fight the theory of conspiracy and she needs to cling to two legal concepts like a life raft. One of those is mere presence. If she was merely present and didn't participate at all, she could avoid liability.

The other thing that could shock people is that we don't have a general duty the report crimes, like murder. Merely because we know that they happened. She needs to cling to those. Practically a jury might have trouble believing if the prosecution can come up with additional evidence. If she was merely present and reluctantly so then she may have a legal argument there.

COOPER: So Danny, if you're witness to a crime that's become en committed, she was witness to the alleged rapist chopped up in the head and still talking, she was aware a crime had become mitted against him and didn't do anything about it, that's legal?

CEVALLOS: Absolutely. As long as there's no special duty, as long as it's not your child and you're a lifeguard at a pool. If it's a stranger on the street, there is no obligation, legal obligation to call 911 when we see a crime. It simply doesn't exist unless there is some special duty. So she needs to cling to that, and really drive that home because even though she was aware of it, if she did not and that's a big if.

If there is no evidence other than she was merely present and she didn't participate in concealing or hiding the crime with the intent to be in that conspiracy, then she has got a shot at avoiding liability. The bottom line is going to a jury find this credible?

COOPER: Sunny, what do you think?

HOSTIN: Yes, I think Danny is dead on. It's whether or not she conspired with this boyfriend and pointed him out and said, I want him dead, I am angry about this rape.

COOPER: The boyfriend who she then married for nine years.

HOSTIN: For nine years, and jurors, I think usually do the right thing. I think jurors, Anderson, have a real-life perspective when they are hearing this kind of stuff, and when those facts come in and she's, you know, telling them well, I was afraid and that's why I married someone and stayed married for nine years and I had an involuntarily flinch and I didn't point them out, they knew this was the guy that rained me, that doesn't make sense and jurors may reject those facts.

COOPER: All right, Sunny Hostin, we'll see. Danny Cevallos as well, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

A lot more to report tonight, an extraordinary survival story, new video shows the moment a man found alive 90 feet under the water. He had been there for three days living in an air pocket in a boat that sunk. He was the sole survivor. How he beat the odds ahead.


COOPER: Tonight an amazing story of survival. You may have heard this when it happened, but tonight there is newly released video showing for the first time the moment a man who by all odds should have been found dead in the wreckage of a tug boat beneath the Atlantic Ocean.


COOPER (voice-over): In the cold, murky waters of the Atlantic Ocean divers are in a recovery mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you walk you'll come to a corner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, no problem. Have you got it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a corner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, go around the corner. Sorry, it's quite difficult for me on here trying to explain.

COOPER: Unable to see more than a few inches in front of them, the dive team is guided through the capsized boat but someone above the water looking for the 12 crew members that went down with it. It's been three days and they are all presumed to be dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, you're walking on the ceiling? It's going to be above you. Is that -- what have you got there? That's stairs, yes?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to be going up there, is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm going up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct, you're in the right place. Now you're going onto the main deck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suddenly, out of the bloom, a hand. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, so you should be walking on the ceiling, yes?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that? OK. You found one, yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is someone --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's alive. Keep him there. Keep him there. All right, just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold him there, OK? Keep him there. I don't know what to do. Keep him there and keep him calm.

COOPER: His name is Harrison and when the boat capsized he found an air pocket. For three days he was living off one can of soda. The crew works to get the survivor out safely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll take you in the water and we're going to take you to the bell. OK? Then we're going to bring your home, OK? All right.

COOPER: But not before trying to ease the mood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your rank?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the cook?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But not before trying to ease the mood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your rank?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the cook?

COOPER: They are nearly 90 feet deep so they are concerned about the pressure so slowly they begin the journey to the surface.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your head under water and breathe comfortably OK?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is that? Are you all right, Harrison? Are you comfortable?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang your head. Bring him home.


COOPER: Unbelievable. This happened off the coast of Nigeria. The water was not only deep but fridge cold. The rescue itself was not a walk in the park. Joining me tonight, former Navy SEAL, Brandon Webb.

Brandon, how surprised are you to hear someone could stay alive in an air bubble like this for three days under water?

BRANDON WEBB, FORMER NAVY SEAL: It's a pretty surprising story. I think it has to be some sort of record to survive three atmospheres, over 100 feet down for three days with a bottle of coke is just an incredible story of survival.

COOPER: You've been involved obviously in diving rescue missions. It was supposed to be a dead body recovery effort. In terms of what it does to a body to be -- to a person to be that deep for so long, what happens?

WEBB: He's in a very small air pocket and, you know, if you think like a volume of air, that air slowly is becoming more and more unbreathable. So the fact that just the psychological stress he would have been under living three days not knowing really what happened, other than that boat had sunk I think is an incredible testament to his own personal going to survive.

COOPER: And then to get him back up to the surface, they have to be concerned about, what is it nitrogen in his lungs and about decompression?

WEBB: Yes, when you're breathing compressed air for that long period of time, the nitrogen builds up in your blood stream. To be able to get him to put on that diving helmet and essentially, I'm assuming, this guy has never dove before in his life and to coach him and have him remain calm enough to put that helmet on, exit the boat, enter into a decompression chamber under water and essentially decompression chamber allows enough time for his blood, oxygen levels and blood stream to return to normal so he can go to the surface is just incredible story all around.

COOPER: And for him to have remained calm when he was all by himself in the dark for three days, basically in 100 feet of water, if he had panicked he would have been consuming more oxygen and making it a shorter amount of time to stay there.

WEBB: Absolutely. I'm not sure what the total volume of air he had but it had to have been getting to the point where it was becoming unbreathable and if he was panicking, you're absolutely right, you would be using up more of that breathable airplane as time goes on.

COOPER: I understand you grew up in and around tug boats. Is there anything specific about the condition of tugs that formed this pocket and helped him survive or is this pocket of air something that could form in any boat that sinks?

WEBB: i think the pocket of air could form in any particular boat, but this boat was a larger tug boat. The fact that he was just in the right place at the right time, I mean, it wasn't a situation that I know of where he was under water completely and swam to a pocket of air. He was just in the right place at the right time and, you know, incredibly lucky.

COOPER: Obviously, these rescue divers were experienced. I would freak out if I'm expecting to find bodies and find somebody alive, it seemed that hand come out of there, that would have -- that's like a horror movie.

WEBB: I know. I watched the video. It would have been giving them quite a startle.

COOPER: Brandon, fascinating stuff. Thank you so much. Appreciate talking to you.

WEBB: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next -- incredible -- Pope Francis admits to a career you might not believe. We'll be right back.


COOPER: A quick check of other headlines, we'll check back with Rosa Flores.

FLORES: Anderson, a 360 follow, an airplane passenger suspected of having tuberculosis was tested negative for the disease. The man was taken off a plane in Phoenix last Friday and other passengers were advised to contact doctors.

Researchers in Hawaii have found a massive World War II submarine. The I-400 was essentially an underwater aircraft carrier that could hold three-folding wing planes. It was scuttled to keep out of the hands of the soviets.

Pope Francis reveals he was once a bouncer at a nightclub and he swept floors and ran tests at a chemical lab. Anderson, my confession I used to sell teeth whitener, imagine that?

COOPER: Excuse me? What?

FLORES: I used to sell teeth whitener.


FLORES: I'll share the secrets later.

COOPER: Thank you very much. Rosa, thanks.

With the breaking news at the top of the hour, we ran out of time for "The Ridiculist." That does it for 360. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for "AC 360" later. Check out the web cast at 360 doesn't come and that time of the year, go to to vote for your favorite "Ridiculist" of 2013 we'll count them down online and on the air as the year draws to a close. We'll see you an hour. Thanks of watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now. PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is a PIERS MORGAN LIVE losing it, America's fat obsession. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Tonight the weight of the nation bursting at it seems estimated 19 million Americans are now obese. It's taking a heavy toll on lives and health costs. What who is to blame and who to be done?